Posts for: February, 2016
We often associate orthodontics with moving several teeth on the upper or lower arches (or both) with braces or clear aligners. But not all patients require a major endeavor — sometimes only one or a few teeth need to be moved, and not very far.
A slight gap between the two upper front teeth is one type of situation that only requires minor tooth movement: just a few teeth need to be moved and usually just a millimeter or two. The appliances needed to achieve this are also relatively simple in design: removable retainers or small scale fixed braces with small springs or elastics that place pressure against the teeth. The process may also only take a few months rather than two years as with major tooth movement.
Preparing for the procedure, though, must be undertaken with great care. We need to first determine if moving the teeth even slightly could affect the bite with the opposite teeth. We must also ensure the roots of the teeth intended for movement are in good position for allowing the space to be closed.
We must then consider the other supporting structures for the teeth. It’s important for gums and bone to be healthy — if not, treating any found disease may be necessary first before beginning orthodontics. And, if the gap between the two upper teeth was created by an abnormally large frenum, the small strip of tissue connecting the lip to the upper gum, it may be necessary to remove it before tooth movement can begin to ensure the closed gap stays closed.
Like any other orthodontic treatment, minor tooth movement first requires a thorough examination with x-ray imaging to determine the exact tooth position, bite issues and the surrounding gum and bone health. We can then be reasonably certain if this straightforward procedure is right for you, and could help you obtain a more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on different orthodontic treatment choices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Minor Tooth Movement.”
How Do Sealants Help Protect My Child’s Teeth? What you need to know about dental sealants.
There are deep grooves and crevices in the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars and premolars (bicuspids). These are a normal part of your child’s dental anatomy. They are also an area of your child’s mouth that is very prone to decay. But now there is something you can do to help protect your child’s teeth. Dr. Cesar Acosta in Turlock, California is the caring dental provider who can help you protect your child’s teeth using dental sealants.
When your child consumes sugary foods or drinks, the sugar mixes with normal bacteria in the mouth and forms an acid. This acid can eat through the dental enamel and give your child a cavity that needs treatment. Dental sealants provide a hard protective layer over deep grooves and crevices. They keep bacteria, plaque and food from entering the deep dental anatomy and causing problems.
When Dr. Acosta does a sealant treatment, he will flow a liquid plastic material onto the chewing surface of your child’s teeth. The material is hardened using a special ultraviolet curing light. The hardened material “seals up” the deep grooves and crevices.
Dr. Acosta wants you to know some of the many advantages to your child receiving dental sealants. Your child will benefit from sealants because:
- Sealants can prevent the pain and damage from tooth decay
- Sealants can keep your child from needing expensive fillings
- Sealant treatment is completely painless and quick
Dental sealants are also important for you. As a parent, you will know you have done everything you can to keep your child from getting painful, damaging cavities. You should bring your child in for sealant treatment on the first molars between the ages of 5 and 7, and for the second molars between the ages of 11 and 14.
Dental sealants provide huge benefits to you and your child. Don’t wait until decay has begun. Come in and visit Dr. Cesar Acosta in Turlock, California, your neighborhood expert on dental sealants. Call today and protect your child’s smile!
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into caviÂties. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.Â Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”